February 27

A Tasting Guide To The Cape Winelands – South Africa

By Emma Thomson on
February 27, 2018

It’s a well-known fact that the Cape Winelands region offers premium wine tasting experiences.

Although not strictly speaking part of the Cape Winelands, this brief guide will include the scenic surroundings and world-class wineries of the Constantia Valley. We also explore other parts of the region such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

So, without further ado…

Constantia Valley

The oldest wine-producing region in South Africa. Constantia dates back as far as 1685.

View over the Constantia Valley, Cape Town, South Africa
View Over the Constantia Valley. Credit: Constantia Glen Wine Farm

1. Constantia Glen

Located just below Constantia Nek, Constantia Glen offers a selection of wine tastings as well as cheese and charcuterie boards. For those with a sweet tooth, enjoy a decadent wine and chocolate pairing. If you think 11am is too early to hit the vines, Glen also offers a selection of delicious breakfasts. Booking is recommended.

Food and wine pairing at Constantia Glen
Constantia Glen Wine, Cheese and Charcuterie Board. Credit: Constantia Glen

2. Eagles’ Nest

Eagles’ Nest’s is also situated on the crest of Constantia Nek and can be traced back to 1863. Although predominantly known for their Shiraz, Merlot and Viognier, their Little Eagle Rosé and, more recently their Sauvignon Blanc, should also make your tasting list.

This particular spot is ideal if you have children. Lush grass, picnic tables and a small stream trickling past make for the ideal playground while you enjoy a tantalising tasting.

Grounds at the back of Eagles Nest Wine Farm
Eagles’ Nest Ground. Credit: Eagles’ Nest

3. Steenberg Vineyards 

Admire a mix of contemporary and Cape Dutch architecture while enjoying fragrant fruits of the vine.  Not just a vineyard, Steenberg Farm also has an onsite 5-star hotel and spa, as well as an award-winning restaurant, Catharina’s.

For your tasting pleasure, Bistro Sixteen82 offers a range of tapas-inspired dishes and has been listed in EAT OUT’s Best Bistro list as well as Fleur du Cap’s Top 100 Places. In other words, Steenberg Vineyards is not to be missed!

View of Sixteen82 and Tasting Rooms at Steenberg Vineyards
View of Sixteen82 and Tasting Rooms at Steenberg Vineyards. Credit: Michael Olivier


With nearly 200 wine producers, Stellenbosch was the first region to establish its own wine route. Explore the rich history of the town through its characterful cafés, boutiques and art galleries.

View of vines in Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch South Africa. Credit: Jamie Goode

1. Stellenbosch Vineyards

A class-leading producer and exporter, this historic vineyard sports several internationally celebrated brands such as Credo, Welmoed, Infiniti and Infusions. Enjoy samples of world-class wine in the tasting room or take a seat at Swirl, a restaurant specifically designed for wine and food pairings by the venue’s chef and winemakers.

Alcove at Stellenbosch Vineyards
Stellenbosch Vineyards Brands. Credit: Stellenbosch Vineyards

2. Tokara

Located near the top of Helshoogte Pass, Tokara offers both wonderful wines and panoramic views of the Cape Winelands valley below. Along with their Premium Wine Range, Tokara also has the Zondernaam wine range, Potstill Brandy and olive oil.

Venture here with an empty stomach because the restaurant is definitely not to be missed. Run by the former EatOut SA Chef of the Year, the menu entails à la carte options as well as a seven-course chef’s menu where each dish is paired with an appropriate wine. With picturesque grounds, incredible art and intriguing sculptures, Tokara is suitable for the whole family.

Tokara Entrance with trees
Tokara Entrance. Credit: Tokara

3. Rust En Vrede

Over 320 years old, the estate overflows with history and accolades. The wine was selected by the late Nelson Mandela for the Nobel Peace Prize dinner and nominated into the Top 100 Wines of the World for four consecutive years.

The Vertical Tasting is particularly unique as it comprises of the same wines from three consecutive years to highlight the different grapes, seasons and ages. Other tastings include the Estate, the Single Vineyard and a Full Tasting of all wines. A Winemaker’s Lunch is served in the tasting rooms as an accompaniment to the wines.

Front View of Rust En Vrede Tasting Room
Rust En Vrede Tasting Room. Credit: Rust En Vrede


Known as the food and wine capital of the country, Franschhoek combines spectacular scenery, world-class cuisine and an abundance of both boutique and larger wineries to explore. A special addition to Franschhoek that is worth experiencing is the Wine Tram.

Franschoek Wine Valley in South Africa
Franschhoek Wine Valley. Credit: AndBeyond

1. Rupert & Rothschild

Rupert & Rothschild exudes an air of opulence aided by the custom-made French oak furniture and contemporary artwork. The tastings here are slightly different whereby each of the wines and champagne is available in sample sizes.

There is also a delightful restaurant with views of the vineyards and Simonsberg mountain. Known to be one of the top restaurants in the area, expect a memorable fine dining experience and expert attention to detail with each seasonal menu.

Rupert & Rothschild Tasting Room and Restaurant
Rupert & Rothschild Tasting Room and Restaurant. Credit: Rupert & Rothschild

2. La Motte

Internationally recognised for its exceptional wine collection, La Motte offers tasting opportunities with experienced ambassadors who will guide you through your experience. La Motte offers three main tastings: the Current Vintages Tasting, Vinoteque Testing and the Food and Wine Tasting which entails five pairings.

As Franschhoek is considered to be the epicentre of South Africa’s top restaurants, it should come as no surprise that La Motte has its very own Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant. You can expect dishes based on modified local recipes from over three centuries , essentially a decadent homage to the cultures that shaped the Cape Winelands cuisine. Booking is essential.

Pierneef á La Motte Franschhoek South Africa
Pierneef á La Motte Restaurant. Credit: Country Life

3. Haute Cabrière

Dating back to 1694 this farm in the Cape Winelands is brimming with history that can be experienced in their underground tasting room and cellar tour. Several options are available from public and private tours and tastings to portfolios and an MCC tasting featuring the Pierre Jourdan range.

A unique restaurant is located inside a stone cellar with views of the maturation cellar on one side and Franschhoek valley on the other. Offering a food and wine pairing option, à la carte menu, as well as a special Sunday Feast menu, there’s something to suit every palette.

Haute Cabrière Franschhoek
Cape Winelands tasting at Haute Cabrière Restuarant. Credit: Haute Cabrière

Do you want to experience all the top wine farm tastings in the Cape Winelands? Contact us to make it a reality.




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About the author 

Emma Thomson

South African born and bred Emma says she's happy to be back on home ground after spending a few years in the UK. An avid coffee lover, equestrian enthusiast and self-proclaimed cat lady, Emma hopes to travel and experience as many cultures, countries and food types as possible. A love affair with language sees her wanting to continue writing and learn as many foreign languages as possible.

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